Will the insults never cease?


So, got a little email from “The Facebook Team”, saying that a facebook friend suggested I would like a page called “Is this Real!?!” They named the friend, by first and last name (I won’t name him myself – let’s call him BL), so I figured, might be legit…

When I got to the page [I forgot to include the fact that I had to log into Facebook and that it was a Facebook page], it told me “I’m about to show you the craziest thing! Is it real? Decide for yourself…. to see what I’m talking about, click the code in the following box copy and paste it into your browser’s URL box and hit enter…”

And I’m already getting suspicious, because if they have something to show me, why isn’t it on the page? Plus: the quoted comments by other viewers have that whiff of insincerity, the way a moderately skilled ad-writer sounds when faking the enthusiasm of several ostensibly different persons. Also: the one photo displayed, of a previous “crazy thing” example, was a cross between a pig and a human being… And although I don’t know BL so well as to entirely rule out the possibility that he might have a weakness for National Enquirer-style sensationalist photojournalism, it strikes me as unlikely that a man of his intelligence, wit, breadth of knowledge and social responsibility would wish to share faked pictures of pig-babies with me.

But here’s the kicker: Above the box it said: “Note: please be patient, it might take a few moments if you have a lot of friends.”

Wait, what?

If I have a lot of friends? How could my number of friends affect the loading time of a web page? And remember, we are inside Facebook at this point…

Well, there you are, you see. That’s not a web page URL they want you to copy and paste. It’s a Java script. And although I do not know enough about Java to be able to tell what a script is going to do just by looking at it, I can’t help but notice that it does refer to a “SocialGraphManager”.

Yep. They’re just trying to capture my Friends list. Which probably already happened to some friend of BL. And they’re using BL’s friends list to try get access to his friends, all the way down the line.

I have no curiosity about what photo they would show me, should I foolishly decide to actually put that script into my browser. Probably involves extremely large breasts.

All this thanks to Facebook sharing your personal connections with the whole world — unless you search out and click on that “Do Not Abuse Me and My Friends” box.

End of rant.

6 Responses to “Will the insults never cease?”

  • Sean Eric Fagan Says:

    Are you sure this was from Facebook? It sounds like various trojans/viruses/whatever that have scraped address books in the past.

    Not that I’m saying Facebook is behaving well here.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Sean —

      This was a Facebook page we’re talking about. Had to log onto Facebook to view it, could not be viewed outside of Facebook. And the original email was one of those that are automatically generated by Facebook, and labeled as from “the Facebook team”.

      Hm, I see I didn’t make that clear in the post… Okay, just inserted something that explains that…

      I’m convinced that it was BL’s Friends list that was mined, and this due to Facebook’s automatically sharing your connection info.

      But — I’m trying to get off this kick! (Put down the keyboard, and just walk away…)

  • Nonesuch Says:

    They’ve been on my lawn too. I got one of those notices several days ago, supposedly from one of my friends (we’ll call him WL), telling me that he thought I’d be interested in joining some group dedicated to forcing the employees of big corporations to undergo drug testing. At least I think that’s what it was about. When I ignored it, I got another one a couple days later. Sheesh, he must REALLY want me to check this out, I thought. (But I still ignored it.) Now I see I’m not the only one. Our lawns are under siege!

  • Adina Adler Says:

    It’s not that I love Facebook, but they didn’t personally do this. They did, however, create a programming environment that lets unscrupulous people create malicious pages. After that, all it takes is for one person to follow the instructions on that page to send the suggestion flying through hundreds of networks.

    When I get one of these from a friend, I explain to that person that this is at best pointless, and at worse can spread viruses throughout the world, and then I tell them how to remove their affiliation with the page and post a message explaining their mistake.

    • Rosemary Says:

      Adina —

      You’re right that Facebook didn’t create the actual page I’m complaining about… but they did set themselves up so that BL’s connections are automatically available to be mined, unless BL takes the time to click though the clickity maze. And they do count on most people not taking the time to do that… making their money by counting on people getting so tired of the process that they just don’t bother —

      But, oh, I must not be tempted into yet another rant!! That way lies madness…

      Plus: there are plenty of people covering this topic. I think it was being betrayed by my beloved Pandora that got me started. If I had to give up Pandora, I’d never survive my painful DayJob.

  • Sabine Says:

    I found a great little tool on Lifehacker for looking at your privacy on Facebook. It’s a bookmarklet you add to your browser toolbar. Then you log on Facebook and click the bookmarklet. It will scan your settings and tell you where there might be problems, and then link to the place on FB where you can fix those settings.

    For example, I thought I had locked down everything, but when I did the scan, it told me that some settings were not optimized for privacy. When I clicked the link, I saw that my activities and my “likes” were still set to “everyone!” That got changed in a heartbeat.

    You have a public profile, but you might want to check out the rest, like activities and likes. http://lifehacker.com/5540495/reclaimprivacy-bookmarklet-rates-your-facebook-exposure-levels